Durban - Groot, the 18-month-old penguin that was admitted into the uShaka Sea World rehabilitation programme after being stranded on the main beach at Scottburgh in December, is making a remarkable recovery, according to Kelly de Klerk, uShaka Sea World Animal Behaviourist.
After the penguin arrived, he was named Groot, after Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy.
De Klerk said when Groot arrived, he was severely dehydrated with an obvious injury to his left flipper.
The injury Groot suffered on his left flipper was a bite which made it almost impossible for him to make his way home.
Groot had to be rehydrated and given antibiotics and was left in the quietness of the hospital in the first two days. However, on the third day, he woke up with a huge appetite and ate a record 20 fish.
He currently weighs 4.4 kilograms, when he was stranded he weighed 3.4.
“Thankfully he regained his strength quite quickly as his infection cleared but as he started waddling around his hospital pen we noticed he waddled with a slight limp to the left side. X-rays showed no bones were broken which means that after a couple of weeks physiotherapy he should make a full recovery,” de Klerk said.
She said Groot was in the middle of a moult when he arrived and moulting penguins have to stay on dry land and not swim until their three-week moult is complete.
Perhaps the heavy storms which hit Port Elizabeth in the middle of December could have caused Groot to slip off the rocks which started his ordeal at sea.
At the end of January he will join four other penguins that are in rehab at uShaka Sea World and fly to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in Port Elizabeth where he will join a bigger group of penguins preparing for release.